‘No sup­port for Cur­lew Court’

Knysna-Plett Herald - - Voorblad - S­te­fan Goo­sen

A con­cer­ned Knys­na re­si­dent has ta­ken it upon him­self to as­sist re­si­dents of the mu­ni­ci­pal hou­sing fa­ci­li­ty Cur­lew Court and Hof with is­su­es they ha­ve with the Knys­na mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty, the la­test being a fa­mi­ly of three st­rug­gling for mo­re than a month to get a le­a­king ge­y­ser fixed.

Art­hur Booy­sen, who has li­ved in Knys­na for 14 y­e­ars, says his ex­pe­rien­ce with the mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty le­a­ves him with the im­pres­si­on that in­structi­ons a­ren’t fol­lo­wed up w­hen a task is gi­ven, me­a­ning that work do­ne by the mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty ne­ver gets exe­cu­ted pro­per­ly or chec­ked.

Burst ge­y­ser

He says his friends li­ving at Cur­lew Court ha­ve had a pro­blem with a burst ge­y­ser sin­ce Ju­ly 26, le­a­ving them wit­hout hot wa­ter and ha­ving to co­pe with the le­a­king.

The Slab­bert fa­mi­ly, S­tel­la, Sophie and Pa­tri­cia – who are all u­na­ble to work due to arthri­tis and who re­ly on go­vern­ment grants to sup­port them­sel­ves – re­por­ted the in­ci­dent to the mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty, ac­cor­ding to Booy­sen. It was af­ter two days, w­hen “no­thing was do­ne”, that he got in­vol­ved.

This ge­y­ser has not been fixed yet, Booy­sen says, despi­te nu­me­rous calls and vi­sits to va­ri­ous mu­ni­ci­pal of­fi­ci­als, ad­ding that he and the Slab­berts ha­ve been sent from one de­part­ment to the next, to no a­vail.

No pro­gress

Du­ring a meet­ing that Knys­na-P­lett He­rald (KPH) at­ten­ded at the mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty on 29 Au­gust, plan­ning and de­ve­lop­ment di­rec­tor Ma­wet­hu Penxa un­der­took to re­sol­ve the pro­blem, but this has not hap­pe­ned.

Booy­sen says he al­so spo­ke to Ward 9 coun­cil­lor Mark Wil­lem­se this week, on Mon­day 11 Sep­tem­ber, and was told that Wil­lem­se would look in­to the mat­ter and get back to him. By the end of Tu­es­day, he says, no feed­back had been fort­hco­ming. S­tel­la says all they want is for their ge­y­ser to be fixed. She, her daug­h­ter Sophie and grand­daug­h­ter Pa­tri­cia ha­ve now been st­rug­gling for se­ven weeks wit­hout a ge­y­ser. W­hen it first bro­ke they had to quick­ly grab buc­kets to ca­tch up the wa­ter, and alt­hough the ge­y­ser is swit­ched off, she says, it still le­aks.

‘Mo­re le­aka­ges’

“The w­ho­le damn buil­ding has le­aka­ges which ne­ver get fixed. The mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty keeps as­king us to sa­ve wa­ter but how are we sup­po­sed to do that w­hen we re­ly on them for main­te­nan­ce?” the frus­tra­ted 77-y­e­ar-old wants to know.

Sophie says that af­ter vi­sits by a mu­ni­ci­pal of­fi­ci­al, Aub­tey Oelf, and two se­pa­ra­te con­trac­tors, the si­tu­a­ti­on re­mains un­chan­ged. “They keep pro­mi­sing us it will get fixed but no­thing hap­pens. W­hen we need to bat­he we ha­ve to boil wa­ter in the kett­le and use buc­kets. It is very dif­fi­cult for us.”

Booy­sen says he feels the mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty should a­po­lo­gi­se to this fa­mi­ly for this in­con­ve­nien­ce.

Con­si­de­ring the vo­lu­me of let­ters and com­plaints shared with KPH o­ver ma­ny y­e­ars by Cur­lew re­si­dents, the­re ap­pears to be an on­going is­sue with the mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty.

One re­si­dent, Va­le­rie Bou­wer, has e­ven vo­wed to re­port the mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty to the We­stern Ca­pe Hou­sing T­ri­bu­nal.

Furt­her is­su­es

Sum­med up, the­se com­plaints in­clu­de the fol­lo­wing is­su­es:

No se­cu­ri­ty: the fen­cing a­round the hou­sing u­nits al­low a­nyo­ne to walk through their pro­per­ty “day and nig­ht”. Re­si­dents claim they feel no sen­se of sa­fe­ty.

No com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on: re­si­dents ha­ve said the­re is no li­ne of com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on be­t­ween them and ma­na­ge­ment/the mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty. They feel their is­su­es fall on de­af e­ars and that the mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty feels no­thing for them. Ex­am­ple: Re­cent­ly re­si­dents told KPH that a group of con­trac­tors was broug­ht to the si­te for w­hat see­med to be a con­trac­tors’ meet­ing. Re­si­dents we­re not in­for­med of this, they say, and they still don’t know w­hat it was a­bout.

No main­te­nan­ce: re­si­dents says hou­sing u­nits need fix­ing and w­hen they re­port pro­blems the­re is no re­spon­se from the mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty.

Ir­re­gu­la­ri­ties: so­me al­so al­le­ge that the­re are te­nants who don’t qua­li­fy for this sub­si­di­sed hou­sing fa­ci­li­ty.

In re­spon­se to so­me of the­se que­ries, mu­ni­ci­pal ma­na­ger Kam C­het­ty said re­si­dents must com­mu­ni­ca­te their is­su­es with their ward coun­cil­lor who will in turn es­ca­la­te them to the di­rec­tor of plan­ning or the ma­na­ger of hu­man sett­le­ments. “All main­te­nan­ce is­su­es re­por­ted to our Horn­lee of­fi­ce ha­ve been at­ten­ded to and fixed,” he sta­ted.

Re­gar­ding “un­qua­li­fied te­nants”, C­het­ty said the in­te­gra­ted hu­man sett­le­ments de­part­ment would in­ves­ti­ga­te the al­le­ga­ti­ons, and ad­ded that in fu­tu­re, pro­specti­ve te­nants for sub­si­di­sed hou­sing would ha­ve to ful­fil cer­tain cri­te­ria and be re­gis­te­red on the hou­sing wai­ting list. “Going for­ward, the coun­cil al­lo­ca­ti­on po­li­cy and one al­lo­ca­ti­on da­ta­ba­se will be u­sed,” said C­het­ty.

P­ho­tos: S­te­fan Goo­sen

Back left is Art­hur Booy­sen with Sophie Slab­bert. In front is Pa­tri­cia (left) and her grand­mot­her S­tel­la Slab­bert. Booy­sen is trying to help the Slab­berts sort out their is­su­es with the mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty. Me­an­w­hi­le they ha­ve to ma­ke do with buc­kets of boi­ling wa­ter.

S­tel­la Slab­bert points to w­he­re her ge­y­ser is still le­a­king, e­ven though it is not in use and swit­ched off.

This buc­ket has been pla­ced un­der the ge­y­ser to ca­tch was­ta­ge.

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